The Summer season signifies it’s time for schools to focus on their football season. High school students and teachers may be out for the summer break, but football coaches are hard at work with training camps for their players, planning strategies for the upcoming season, and tryouts for new players.
For those who manage fundraising campaigns for the school booster club, attention now must turn to the upcoming football spirit items.
Planning ahead is important with your spirit items. Late planning can cause a loss of fundraising revenue due to extra rush charges, factory inventory issues, late arrivals for your booster club store, and many other problems.
Considerations When Planning Your Team Spirit Items:
Know your stadium ordinances. Some stadiums don’t allow noisemakers. That rules out the ever-popular thundersticks. However, that doesn’t leave you without options to promote cheering by the fans. There are many other cheering items (that don’t make noise) your fans will absolutely LOVE, such as foam fingers and pom poms. The most important nugget is to know what is NOT allowed at your stadium so you don’t spend your limited funds on items you won’t be able to sell.
Know your fans. In order to choose the right spirit items to sell at your football games, it’s important to know your crowd. Are most of your fans in a high-income bracket? Or do the majority of your fans fall below the average income bracket? Knowing how much money your fans are able to dish out at football games is a big factor in deciding what items you should buy for your fundraiser. Expensive items such as premium stadium seat cushions won’t sell if your fan base doesn’t have a high enough income to support those items.
Create a list of potential sponsors. It’s easy enough to tell your players or members of your organization to “Go get sponsors,” but your sponsorship campaign will be much more effective if you go about it in a more organized way. Instead of sending out your “salespeople” in a chaotic manner (likely crossing paths and asking the same businesses over and over), have a list available to divide among all those selling sponsorships. If your team had sponsors last season, reach out to those sponsors first. Assign certain businesses to designated people so those business owners aren’t asked to sponsor by multiple people.
Be open to new merchandise. As you are approaching potential sponsors, you will, of course, have a list of merchandise available for which you need sponsors. However, don’t shut down ideas from your local businesses, especially if they want to foot the bill. Sponsors may not be interested in the spirit items you have chosen, but they may be willing to sponsor the cost of an item that never crossed your radar. This is a great opportunity to add new items to your booster club store at no additional cost to your fundraising effort. Keep your options open.
Set a realistic deadline. When setting a deadline to obtain sponsors, do it with the production time of the items in mind. Don’t forget to factor in the shipping transit time as well as time to layout a proof. Building in a little extra time gives you the opportunity to make edits to layouts and handle unexpected issues when dealing with multiple sponsors.
Get the sponsors logo in a vector format. What is vector art? Vector artwork is a file format that allows the logo or design to be scaled larger without loss of quality. Most sponsors will send you a .jpg of their logo, but if you enlarge a .jpg file, you’ll notice the logo becomes blurry and pixelates. This doesn’t happen with a vector file, which means the printing of the logo on the spirit items will be clean and crisp. Vector files include the following file formats: .ai, .eps, and .pdf. By asking the for the right files in the beginning, you’ll save yourself a lot of back and forth communication trying to obtain the vector files as you approach your deadline.
Set a goal for the number of sponsors for each product. For example, if you want to sell stadium cushions, have a number of sponsors in mind (such as 16), so you know how much you are going to charge for each sponsorship. Then, simply divide the total price of the cushion order (including shipping), by 16 to get the sponsorship amount. These sponsors completely pay for the cushions, allowing you to sell them at the games to make 100% profit for your organization. Perhaps you may even want to bump that amount a little bit to make additional revenue.
Plan to sell multiple items. You may be planning to sell the best item ever at your games. However, one item doesn’t satisfy everyone. You may be selling pimped-out stadium cushions, but much of your crowd may bring their own from previous years. Having additional spirit items to sell is a sure way to get more sales from your fan base. A good variety of apparel, noisemakers (if allowed), and general spirit items such as foam fingers and pom poms will help ensure a successful season of fundraising.
Advertise your items ahead of time. Don’t wait for the game to attempt to sell your spirit items. Let fans know before the game so they arrive at the stadium with money to spend. Whether you pass out flyers with items available for purchase, or you send out an email blast to alumni and season ticket holders, your sales will increase with a little extra effort. Don’t forget to post announcements of your items for sale on your website and your social media pages.
Have volunteers with signs to direct fans to your booster club store. Often your booster club store is set up on one end of the stadium, which many fans may not visit because they didn’t know it was there. Have volunteers or members of your organization hold signage to direct people to your store. You can feature special pricing for various items or offer a discount on specific items within 15 minutes after a touchdown is scored. Get creative and drive more people to your store with directional signage.
Many school booster club stores are very successful in raising funds for the team or club. But the most successful ones plan ahead and are well-organized. Creativity in the way you promote your store is very important. Many fans don’t attend the games with intentions of buying an overpriced stadium seat cushion or noisemaker, but once they are there, they get into the spirit are willing to pay a little more knowing they are supporting their team. Good luck selling this football season!
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